The Rift: Dark Side of the Moon Review

NASA’s Apollo missions continued beyond Apollo 17 – and in secret – according to The Rift. Twenty-one missions went to the moon in total, the last one to the dark side. Things happened to Apollo 21. A lot of things, if The Rift is any indicator.

Classifying The Rift is a difficult thing to do. The Yugoslavian import marries heady sci-fi, zombie cinema, ghost stories, and general horror together. The Rift goes everywhere to tell this small scale story. It’s only four people – an international collage of CIA types and a scientist, marching on the location of a downed satellite.

Movie of this type don’t play as expected. The Rift is particularly ornery, if not thematically engaging. Getting through The Rift is a chore, exciting in pieces, but clumped together in a plodding whole. Thick accents and untranslated foreign dialog make The Rift difficult to parse in the opening act. Later, it’s stuffed into one location, an old rotting farmhouse. That’s less engaging still.

A mystery running through The Rift lacks urgency – that’s on the mish-mash of genres. The script never seems settled on an idea. One scene deals with a psychotic woman scratching an image in a basement; in the next, The Rift transitions to a moon flashback, done entirely via visual effects. It’s jarring.

Yes, there is a rift, a time-bending plot device leading to a flat conclusion. It’s wild, anyway, if not with the thrust of surprise The Rift intends. It’s easy to blame the crummy performances, but it’s possible to look past them, supposing The Rift ever showed enthusiasm in the concept. If it’s sci-fi, there’s an awful lack of science. If horror, then jump scares grow tiring. If zombies, then not enough zombies.

The core concern is a lack of emotional weight. Katrina Kas is the star, burdened by a death in her past, the narrative centerpiece. After a series of gory kills and uninteresting twists, her mental status (and existence) feels like an abrupt happening, a sort of writing escape to push The Rift to a conclusion. That’s dishonest and sloppy, a conclusion suited to the rest of the The Rift.